Gerald Vance was one of the numerous pseudonyms belonging to prolific science fiction author Randall Garrett. Garrett was one of the best contributors to Astounding and various other sci-fi magazines that were in vogue during the 1950s. And ’60s. In the Golden Age of sci-fi, Garrett brought innovative ideas within the realm of anything from future adventures and strange mind games, to the dangers of piracy in space.The three stories in this short but highly exciting collection reflect Vance’s writing style and skill as a science fiction writer in full. The stories are as diverse as they are captivating – not only from strictly a science fiction standpoint, but also when it comes to the deeper psychological and social undertones they seek to express.Monsoons of Death is a mix between a horror story and a modern-sounding sci-fi adventure. Ward Harrison, a freshly commissioned lieutenant, finds his task of expediting meteorological data on mars to be greatly complicated by the local population. Even though its depiction of the planet Mars is outdated by modern scientific standards, the story captivates through the author’s deep understanding of the human psyche and portrayal of bravery.In Larson’s Luck, pilot Lucky Larson has to face dire circumstances and save his cargo ship when pirates attempt to hijack it while en route transporting radium from the Venusian mines.Vital Ingredient is one of Vance’s most intricate tales of psychology. Here sci-fi elements serve mainly to set the stage, as the real battle is being fought in the mind of a psychically controlled boxer who attempts to find the “vital ingredient” necessary to overcome his true opponent.
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